From Socrates to Cray: Mathematical Heroes that led to the Data Vortex

The Data Vortex Network is a new technology designed to address the Hard Problems, but it is firmly rooted in mathematical theory and in the evolution of computing technologies spanning twenty-five centuries, from Socrates to Seymour Cray to Coke Reed.


Socrates, Athens Greece (c. 469 BCE – 399 BCE): One of the founders of Western
Philosophy, Socrates lends his name to various styles of education and argumentation. The so called “Socratic Method” of inquiry based learning is the historical precedent for the Moore Method of mathematics. Having never written down his teachings, he now lives through the works of his students, namely Plato and Xenophon.

Hypatia, Alexandria Egypt (c. 350-370 CE – March 415 CE): The last great mathematician and philosopher of the Post-Socratic period, Hypatia dedicated her life towards the advancement and preservation of scientific thought. She was brutally executed through the carving out of her eyes and skin with shells. As with Socrates, her brutal murder was the result of a refusal to compromise her principles. Most historians mark her death as the final bookend of scientific intellectualism in Classical Antiquity.

Sir Isaac Newton, Lincolnshire England (25 December, 1642 – 20 March, 1727): Widely regarded as one of the greatest minds of all time, Newton near single handedly laid the ground work for classical mechanics and invented Calculus. His discoveries removed the final doubts concerning the heliocentric model of our Solar System and heralded an unprecedented age of unilateral scientific advancement and Enlightenment.

Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss, Lower Saxony Germany (30 April 1777 – 23 February 1855): Know to admirers as Princeps Mathematicorum (Lat: “The Prince of Mathematics”) and the “greatest mathematician since antiquity”, Gauss is often credited as the Godfather of modern mathematics. Recognizing his subject as the “Queen of All Sciences”, his work enhanced dozens of varying fields ranging from theoretical astronomy to optics. Gauss’s Parallel Fast Fourier Transfer Algorithm (Produced circa 1805) was the first example of a parallel algorithm.

Ernst Hellinger, Silesia Germany (30 September 1883 – 38 March 1950): A German Jew who was working at the University of Frankfurt during the rise of Adolf Hitler,Hellinger was removed from his post by state authority and sent to the Dachau concentration camp. His American friends, including H.S. Wall, were able emigrate him out of the country to teach at Northwestern University in Illinois.

David Hilbert, Wehlau Prussia (23 January 1862 – 14 February 1943): Often
considered one of mathematics’ great academics, Hilbert was a German mathematician who we recognize as one of the most influential and universal of the 19th and early 20th centuries. He formulated the theory of Hilbert Spaces that would become one of the foundations of functional analysis. At the University of Göttingen he taught and supervised many persons who would go on and greatly affect the course of mathematics and science

University of Göttingen (Established 1734): A product of the European Enlightenment, the University of Göttingen was established by George II, King of Britain and Elector of Hannover. During the 19th and early 20th centuries the institution produced and employed some of mathematics’ finest minds including David Hilbert and Ernst Hellinger.

Hubert Stanley Wall, Rockwell City Iowa (2 December 1902 – 12 September 1971): Receiving his PhD from the University of Wisconsin in 1927, H.S. Wall spent a time working under Hilbert at Göttingen where he met Ernst Hellinger. After helping Hellinger out of Dachau, Wall eventually moved to The University of Texas at Austin where he worked alongside Dr. R.L. Moore in practicing the Moore Method of instruction.

Marian Rejewski, Bromberg German Empire (16 August 1905 –13 February 1980): Recognized for his mathematical genius at an early age, Rejewski was hand selected to secretly study the art of cryptology. The Polish government, recognizing the threat of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany, stowed him away in an undisclosed location. In 1932 he and his team successfully cracked the German’s first generation Enigma machine, seven years before the first shot of World War II was even fired

Scottish Café, Lwów Poland (c. 1940s): Similar to the intellectual pubs and coffee shops of Enlightenment-era Britain,the Scottish Café was a meeting place for mathematicians in the 1930’s and 40’s to discuss the most challenging problems of the day.  Inside was a book in which mathematicians would present problems for other to solve. After Rejewski warned the Lwów mathematicians of an impending Nazi invasion, they buried the Book under the goal post of the football pitch.

Stanislaw Ulam, Lemberg Austria-Hungary (13 April 1909 – 13 May 1984): A Polish mathematician who moved to America in 1935, Stan Ulam became a leader in the thermonuclear field. Wanting to aid the American war effort against Nazi Germany he joined John Von Neumann, a friend and colleague, on the Manhattan Project.

Alan Turing, London England (23 June 1912 – 7 June 1954): The father of Computer Science, Turing is who modern society has to thank for artificial computation. During the Second World War he proved himself in the cryptanalysis discipline and devised the theories that would lead to the decryption of the later generations of the Enigma. In the 1940’s, he and his staff created The Bombe, a parallel electromechanical computer designed to discover the change in daily settings of the German Enigma code machine, helping lead to its eventual decryption by Allied powers.

John Von Neumann, Budapest Austria-Hungary (28 December 1903 – 8 February, 1957): Known in some circles as the last “Great Master” of mathematicians, Von Neumann revolutionized numerous fields through his works. A leading mind in nuclear and quantum physicist, he played a monumental role in the development of the Manhattan Project.

Richard Leibler, Chicago Illinois (18 March 1914 – 25 October 2003): An American mathematician who studied under H.S. Wall, Dick Leibler worked alongside Solomon Kullback to formulate the Kullback-Leibler statistic. His statistic was used in the decryption of the Russian Vernona code.

Government Code & Cypher School, Bletchley Park (World War II): Home to the United Kingdom’s cryptanalysis effort, GC&CS employed the finest mathematicians and brightest minds Great Britain had to offer. Pictured here are W.T. Tutte (1917-2002), who lay the foundations of graph theory, and Tommy Flowers (1905-1998), who designed the world’s first programmable, electronic computer. The school was also one of the few institutions of its day to hire female mathematicians.

Seymour Cray, Chippewa Falls Wisconsin (28 September 1925 – 5 October 1996): A small town kid with a masters in applied mathematics, Seymour Cray, against high odds, went on to establish himself in the Supercomputing industry with his unprecedentedly fast machines. In the words of one Hewlett-Packard executive “it seems impossible to exaggerate the effect he had”. Here he is pictured with the Cray 1 at Dr. Leibler’s Institute for Defense Analyses.

Mathematical and computational heroes from Socrates to Cray paved the way for Dr. Reed and provided rich inspiration that ultimately led to his creation of the Data Vortex. This disruptive network technology is firmly rooted in mathematical theory and is the most elegant solution to address the Hard Problems in science and industry.